EDUCAÇÃO Aga Khan Academies

 
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                        EDUCAÇÃO

        UNIVERSITY COUNSELLING HANDBOOK
        CLASS OF 2021

R EDE   DE   A CADEMIAS P ROMOVENDO          A   E XCELÊNCIA
        UNIVERSITY COUNSELLING HANDBOOK - CLASS OF 2021
                                                               NA   E DUCAÇÃO   1
EDUCAÇÃO Aga Khan Academies
UNIVERSITY COUNSELLING HANDBOOK - CLASS OF 2021   2
EDUCAÇÃO Aga Khan Academies
TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction........................................................................................................................................................................ 4
Responsibilities of the Student in the University Process........................................................................................ 5
Differences in the US, UK, and Canadian Processes................................................................................................. 6
University Planning Timeline........................................................................................................................................7-9
Advice from DP2s to DP1s............................................................................................................................................. 9
Beginning the College/University Search.................................................................................................................... 10
Types of Colleges/Universities/Living Options/Courses/Degrees........................................................................ 11
Choosing a Course/Major.............................................................................................................................................. 12
Online Career Resources............................................................................................................................................... 13
Choosing Universities/Colleges to apply to......................................................................................................... 14-16
Tips for Organisation...................................................................................................................................................... 17
Application Fees............................................................................................................................................................... 18
The UK Application Process................................................................................................................................... 19-21
The US Application Process.................................................................................................................................... 22-23
Standardised Testing: ACT/SAT.................................................................................................................................... 24
The Canadian Application Process........................................................................................................................ 25-28
The Australian Application Process....................................................................................................................... 29-30
The European Application Process........................................................................................................................ 31-33
The Asian Application Process............................................................................................................................... 34-36
The South African Application Process................................................................................................................ 37-38
Financial Aid and Scholarships................................................................................................................................ 39-45
University Expenses and Budgeting....................................................................................................................... 46-48
Writing Personal Statements/Essays for Applications............................................................................................. 49
The UK Personal Statement.......................................................................................................................................... 50
US Personal Statements and Essays....................................................................................................................... 51-52
Understanding an Admissions Decision..................................................................................................................... 53
Choosing Where to Attend.......................................................................................................................................... 54
Next Steps After Selecting a College/University...................................................................................................... 55
Application Organisers and Password Page......................................................................................................... 56-57
Application Research/Completion Sheet.............................................................................................................. 58-60
Notes.................................................................................................................................................................................. 61

UNIVERSITY COUNSELLING HANDBOOK - CLASS OF 2021                                                                                                                                        3
EDUCAÇÃO Aga Khan Academies
INTRODUCTION

The Aga Khan Academies University Counselling Handbook has been prepared in order to orient you to
the complex and exciting process of university application and selection. The handbook provides definite
guidelines and schedules that will help you comprehend the many issues and challenges you will face in your
last years of secondary school. It is designed to provide beginning steps and an outline of the application
process and curriculum in various countries. In short, the following pages serve as a road map that will guide
you as you embark on the transition from the Academy to university. It will be helpful only to the extent
that you take advantage of the information it contains. The book does not replace the help of the University
Counselling Office. However, it does provide answers to frequently-asked questions, it can help you organise
your thoughts about university and, in general, it can eliminate much confusion if you take the time to read
it and incorporate its recommendations into your university planning.

To make wise choices for the future means to be intelligently informed. A wise decision is based on self-
knowledge and an awareness of the opportunities that are best suited to your particular needs. While
teachers have been preparing you for the academic challenges of higher education, the University Counselling
Office aims to assist you in getting there. To this end, this handbook has been created.

Contributors:

Samantha Caras
Safiya Jetha
Khatdija Meghjani
Pragati Pandey
Chase Taylor
Navroz Tharani
Theresa Urist
Adnan Visram

UNIVERSITY COUNSELLING HANDBOOK - CLASS OF 2021                                                             4
EDUCAÇÃO Aga Khan Academies
RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE STUDENT IN THE UNIVERSITY
APPLICATION PROCESS

1.   You must engage in honest, thoughtful reflection and analysis of your strengths, weaknesses, ideas, goals,
     and dreams and apply this knowledge thoughtfully in the college search and application process. Believe
     in yourself.
2.   You must do the best academic work of which you are capable, through the completion of your
     Academy experience.
3.   You must take control of and responsibility for the process rather than be dragged through it. You are
     the one who must bear the consequences for your final decision, so make it thoughtfully and well.
4.   You must do the research necessary to find and apply to a variety of universities you would be happy to
     attend.
5.   You must be considerate of the concerns and opinions of your family members, your University
     Counsellor, and others who must contribute to the process, while remaining true to yourself.
6.   You must register for and take appropriate standardised tests in a timely fashion.
7.   You must communicate with your University Counsellor as your interests and priorities change.
8.   You must meet all deadlines including those of the University Counselling Office as well as those of
     university admissions offices.
9.   You must complete your applications and essays with care and attention.
10. You must maintain a sense of humour – this is supposed to be fun!

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EDUCAÇÃO Aga Khan Academies
IB Scores
                                                              Preferred (Major) Course                            Tests          Recommendation
                                                   Country                               (predicted grades)                                        Personal Statement
                                                                     Considered                                  Required         Letters Needed
                                                                                             considered

                                                               It depends. Some          Schools consider     For most US     At Least 2-          Required- Written
                                                               universities consider     all grades from      schools SAT or 1 from counsellor,    on topic of your
                                                               candidates for specific   years 9-DP2 as       ACT is required 1 from a teacher     choice. More
                                                               programmes, while         well as predicted                                         specifically about
                                                     US        other universities may    IB                                                        YOU
                                                               not require applicants
                                                               to determine a specific
                                                               course of study when
                                                               they apply.

                                                               Yes                       Schools consider     Most require     Two                 Varies by
                                                                                         all grades from      proof of         recommendations     university, and is
                                                                                         years 9-DP2 as       language         required            often required
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        APPLICATION PROCESSES:

                                                  CANADA                                 well as predicted    proficiency such                     in scholarship
                                                                                         IB                   as TOEFL or                          applications

UNIVERSITY COUNSELLING HANDBOOK - CLASS OF 2021
                                                                                                              IELTS

                                                               Yes                       Schools consider     None required 1 from teacher         Required- Written
                                                                                         only predicted IB    except for         required          on why you would
                                                                                         grades               high ranking                         like to study the
                                                                                                              schools (such                        course you are
                                                                                                              as Oxbridge)                         applying to and
                                                     UK                                                       that require                         what makes you
                                                                                                              tests for specific                   qualified
                                                                                                              disciplines,
                                                                                                              ie. BMAT
                                                                                                              (medicine) or
                                                                                                              LNAT (law)

                                                               Yes                       schools consider     Proof of           No                No
                                                                                                                                                                        they look for in an applicant. Reference the table below to see the differences between them.

                                                                                         only predicted IB    language
                                                                                         grades               proficiency
                                                                                                              such as IELTS
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        DIFFERENCES IN US, UK, CANADIAN AND AUSTRALIAN

                                                  AUSTRALIA                                                   and additional
                                                                                                              testing for
                                                                                                                                                                        Universities in different countries have different application requirements and vary greatly in the qualities

                                                                                                              highly selective

6
                                                                                                              programmes
EDUCAÇÃO Aga Khan Academies
UNIVERSITY PLANNING TIMELINE:

For you and your parent(s)/guardian(s), the university selection process can be exciting, puzzling,
threatening, and exhausting! It is further complicated by various deadlines, testing requirements, application
procedures, and by expectations of family, friends, teachers, and others.

The following timeline has been developed to help you keep these factors in perspective and to stay
organised during the university application process.

*NOTE: University Counsellors set internal deadlines because of school breaks, internet issues and/or
heavy workloads. University Counsellors will let you know of these internal deadlines far in advance; these
should be taken as STRICT deadlines. There is no guarantee that your school materials will be submitted to
university admissions offices over the breaks or while university counsellors are not on campus. Adhering
to internal deadlines ensures that the process runs smoothly for everyone. Deadlines for individual schools
will vary so it is your responsibility to keep track of your own deadlines, including all internal deadlines.
BridgeU is another tool that will help you to stay on top of your application deadlines.

DP 1 Year

It is imperative that you take your academic performance seriously. This means serious application, planned
hours of study, a realistic time budget, high standards of work on assignments and projects, and a sincere
desire to do the best academic work possible. If you have not worked up to your potential during the first
two years of secondary school, it is crucial that you exhibit solid academic performance during your DP 1
year.

                                      • Develop a resume
                                      • Plan your DP2 Courses
                                      • Prepare for the SAT/ACT:
    September 2019-March
                                          - Register for the SAT/ACT
           2020
                                          - Take an ACT/SAT Practice Test
                                      • Start researching schools
                                      • Talk to your parents/guardians about financial aid

            March 2020                Register by early March for the April ACT (online) and late
                                      March for May SAT (online)

        April-May 2019                Take the April ACT and May SAT

            June 2020                 Prepare for a meaningful and substantive summer holiday!

                                      • Research Universities
                                      • Investigate Scholarship Options
                                      • Finalise college list
                                      • Write Personal Statements
         Summer Break                 • Update BridgeU with the above
                                      • US Applications OPEN (August)
                                      • Visit College campuses/take online tours
                                      • Register in early August for the September ACT (online)
                                      • If necessary, take the TOEFL/IELTS

UNIVERSITY COUNSELLING HANDBOOK - CLASS OF 2021                                                             7
EDUCAÇÃO Aga Khan Academies
DP 2 Year

It is important that your DP2 year grades reflect a sincere and sustained effort throughout the whole year.
At universities, acceptance is contingent upon your maintaining or improving your level of achievement.
Universities may withdraw your acceptance if you demonstrate a marked drop in performance.

                                     • Hit the ground running during your DP2 year by continuing to
                                       submit drafts of your essays/personal statements.
                                     • Register online for the ACT/SAT by early September for the
                                       October SAT/ACT
   August/September 2020             • Write, edit and finalise Personal Statements!
                                     • Keep college list current on BridgeU
                                     • Sign up/register for Common Application and other online
                                       application portals.
                                     • Research funding
                                     • Fill out the CSS profile (financial aid application for some US universities)
                                     • Write, edit and finalise Personal Statements!
         October 2020                • Finish everything if applying for Early Decision/Early Action
                                       deadline schools in the US.
                                     • UCAS Applications due for Oxford or Cambridge (all programmes)
         October15th
                                     • UK Medicine Applications Due
                                     • Predicted grades given by teachers
                                     • Finalise university-specific essays
        November 2020                • Applications for UK and Canada OPEN
                                     • Register for December SAT/ACT if necessary
     November 1st / 15th             • Most Early Application deadlines for US Universities
     December 1st / 15th
                                     • Finish all applications before break
            December
                                     • Most Early Decision/Early Action decisions arrive
            January 1st              Application deadline for some US Universities
                                     Make sure that BridgeU university list is 100% accurate, as
             January
                                     counsellors use that list to send out transcripts
                                     • Regular Decision application deadline for many US universities
          January 15th
                                     • ALL applications should be submitted
        Late Jan-March               Many scholarship applications and financial aid applications due
                                     • Decisions begin to arrive!
        February-April               • Review financial aid packages
                                     • Make a pro/con list of schools you are accepted to.
                                     • Make sure your university counsellor is aware of any acceptances,
                                       denials and waitlist decisions.
               April
                                     • Be sure that your BridgeU account is up to date with accurate
                                       information on your results.

             April 1st               US university decisions issued with financial aid offers / Australia
                                     & South Africa applications open

UNIVERSITY COUNSELLING HANDBOOK - CLASS OF 2021                                                                        8
Rolling basis                Decisions from Canadian and UK universities issued

            May 1st                    Universal deadline to accept/ decline for US universities. Deposit
                                       must be made.
                                       Make sure that final transcript/IB Diploma results are sent to the
              June                     university where you will be attending.
                                       Send thank you letters to everyone who helped you through this process!

THE VOICE OF EXPERIENCE: ADVICE TO DP1s FROM DP2s

Here is some wise advice as you embark on the university application process from students who have
already been through it.
•   It is harder to raise your grades in the DP years than you think it will be.
•   Start looking at universities in January of your DP1 year; finish your essays over the summer.
•   Ask about the negatives when you visit universities.
•   Like your “safe” schools – you may need them.
•   Don’t just pick a university because your friends like it.
•   Don’t get hooked on one school or one course– you might not be admitted there.
•   Your ideas about what you want may change over time.
•   Don’t obsess over the university process – you still need to do well in school.
•   Don’t just focus on school – find an activity that you love.
•   Don’t let the university application process dictate what activities you do.
•   Start forming good relationships with teachers now so you have people you can ask to write
    recommendations for you.
•   Look at some applications now to learn what they ask.
•   Plan carefully to take your standardised tests so you can fit them all in.
•   Save a copy of a graded writing sample from your DP1 year (an analytic assignment from English or
    history).
•   Write a narrative, a story - Reflect on a personal project, community service, internship, work
    experience. What did you learn?

UNIVERSITY COUNSELLING HANDBOOK - CLASS OF 2021                                                                  9
BEGINNING THE COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY SEARCH

It is time to begin actively thinking about university and career. You should review and discuss your
interests, goals, strengths and weaknesses in your initial meeting with your University Counsellor. Check
out university websites, look over printed university materials, talk with friends and family who are now
attending university, and attend the informational sessions with university admissions officers who visit the
Academy. Remember, the more information that you gather, the better your chances of making a realistic
and suitable decision about university.

Be sure that your HL courses support your college and career plans. As the International Baccalaureate
is a university preparatory curriculum, its courses are designed to prepare students to meet admissions
requirements. However, you should make sure that the courses you take will strengthen your record and
prepare you more fully for a particular major field and programme of interest. Ongoing conversations with
your university counsellor regarding academic and extracurricular records are helpful to this process.

FAQ: What’s the difference between a college and a university?

Colleges:
• In the US, colleges are usually smaller schools. In Canada, colleges are typically two-year technical
    schools that prepare students for a particular career.
• Typically only offer programmes for undergraduate study (some offer a few programmes for graduate
    study)
• Also refers to smaller divisions of one university ie: Harvard College is the undergraduate division of
    Harvard University
• May also refer to residence halls (ie: Yale University has residential colleges)

Universities:
• Are made up of many different schools (School of Business, School of Divinity, etc.)
• May have undergraduate, graduate, and even post-graduate (doctoral) study opportunities

Note: Some of the terminology around colleges and universities can be confusing. For example, a research
university is NOT the only place that allows students opportunities to conduct research, and a technical
school is NOT the only place that will prepare students for careers in technology. In fact, many smaller
liberal arts colleges provide wonderful options for students to conduct research and gain experience
in particular career fields. For example, NYU Abu Dhabi is a liberal arts school that boasts impressive
research facilities and a faculty with strong technological expertise. Also, different university systems
require students to determine a course of study at different points in the process. In the US, for example,
it is not unusual for a student to enter college or university “undecided.” Such students generally spend
their first year fulfilling general requirements and taking courses in areas of interest before committing to
a particular major or programme of study. Students often pick a course of study based on what they think
they want as a future career; however, it is also important to keep an open mind. Through exploration
-- including coursework, internships and research -- you may discover a field that fits you that you had not
previously considered.

UNIVERSITY COUNSELLING HANDBOOK - CLASS OF 2021                                                            10
TYPES OF COLLEGES & UNIVERSITIES/TYPES OF MAJORS/
TYPES OF DEGREES

Before beginning your search, familiarise yourself with the different types of colleges and universities
and the types of majors (courses of study) and degrees offered. Because you are applying right out of
secondary school, (in most cases) you will be seeking an undergraduate degree.

Types of Colleges/Universities

Private: Private colleges and universities are funded through tuition, fees, private gifts, corporate
contributions and endowments. Particularly in the U.S., private schools are typically more expensive than
publicly funded institutions but may provide better financial aid. Examples: Wellesley College, Emory
University, Bowdoin College, Yale University

Public: Public colleges and universities are partially funded by tax dollars; typically they cost less than
private schools. However, they may not provide as much financial aid. Examples: University College
London, University of Toronto, McGill University, University of California Los Angeles (UCLA)

College/University Living Options

Commuter: A commuter is a college or university student who generally lives locally and drives or takes
public transportation to campus every day. Commuter students are usually local residents, although any
student who lives off campus may be considered a commuter. Commuter students are not bound to
the same rules that govern campus residents. While commuting may seem like a less expensive option
for college, keep in mind that some colleges take into account on-campus living expenses in determining
financial aid.

Residential: A residential student is one who lives on a college campus, in a dormitory, college-run
apartment building or other setting. By living on campus with other students, you will be part of a living/
learning environment. NOTE: Students who live on campus statistically have higher GPAs and complete
more college credits each semester than their off campus counterparts; students who live on campus are
more likely to graduate on time, and get involved in campus activities, both extracurricular and academic.

Types of Majors/Courses of Study

Liberal Arts - A liberal arts education refers to studies in a college or university intended to provide a
broad base of knowledge and develop intellectual capacities. A liberal arts education prepares students to
work in a variety of jobs. Liberal arts majors are often described as majors that “teach you how to think.”
Examples of liberal arts majors include: language, philosophy, mathematics, history, literature, psychology.
This is different from other types of education where students develop professional or vocational skills
for a specific job. If you are undecided about what you want to study, it is best to pursue a liberal arts
degree.

Pre-Professional – Pre-Professional majors are majors that prepare students for one specific field. Because
they are focused majors, there is typically less flexibility in picking courses. But for students who know what
they want to study, a Pre-Professional major will provide them with the skills and training necessary to
enter a particular career. Some Pre-Professional majors include: engineering, business, and nursing.

UNIVERSITY COUNSELLING HANDBOOK - CLASS OF 2021                                                               11
Types of College/University Degrees

Two-year undergraduate (Associate’s Degree): These degrees are typically granted for two years of full-
time college study.

Four-year undergraduate (Bachelor’s Degree): Colleges and universities give these degrees for four
(and in some cases three) years of full-time study. Some students pursue their Bachelor’s degree after
completing their Associate’s Degree while some students directly pursue their Bachelor’s degree after
secondary school.

Graduate: A professional degree that a student obtains after completing a Bachelor’s degree. Graduate
degrees typically prepare students to enter a specific field with very specialised training. For example, a
student intending to become a doctor must complete medical school to earn an MD. Some other kinds of
graduate degrees include Master’s Degrees and PhDs (Doctoral Degrees).

Choosing a Course/ Major

Depending on where you apply, the course you would like to take may be considered with your admission
to the university. If you are planning to enroll in a pre-professional programme such as nursing,
medicine, business, engineering, you MUST know ahead of time since you have to start the appropriate
courses in your first year, regardless of which country you plan to go to.

Course Selection Internationally:

              USA                               CANADA                           UK & AUSTRALIA

 You usually have two years to         You usually have 1 year to           You must know when you
 decide what major/ course             decide what major/course             apply which course you
 you would like to choose.             you would like to choose, but        would like to choose and you
 Exploration of courses in             should have a general idea of        have limited ability to change.
 different disciplines allows you      what you want to study when
 to make a concrete choice.            you apply.

A NOTE ON SELECTING YOUR HL SUBJECTS AND YOUR UNIVERSITY COURSE OF STUDY:

Many universities, particularly in Canada and the UK, require certain IB scores on specific HL and SL
subjects in order to be admitted into a course of study. Therefore, when determining which HL and SL
subjects to pursue, it is critical that you do so with your university and career plans in mind.

For example, at University College London, the minimum requirements for admission to the Mechanical
Engineering programme are: 38-39 IB points; a total of 18-19 points in three HL subjects including
Mathematics and Physics at grade 6, with no score below 5.

REMEMBER: The HL subjects that you select and the grades that you earn in them will have a direct
effect on whether you are admissible to a particular course of study. It is important to know early on in
the process what programmes of study you can pursue, given the HL and SL subjects you select and the
scores that you earn in them.

UNIVERSITY COUNSELLING HANDBOOK - CLASS OF 2021                                                             12
Choose a Course that:

•   Aligns with your HL subjects
•   You have all the pre-requisites for
•   You are interested in studying for 4 years
•   Will prepare you well for what you want to do in the future
•   You might like, a course that aligns with your passions and interests.

How?

Most universities have fantastic websites. There is always an academics section where you can browse the
programmes they offer.

Search Tips:

•   Each course or department has a website- from there you will be able to find the SPECIFIC classes
    they are offering right now for your course; if the classes sound interesting to you, it may be a good
    fit! Record it in on your BridgeU account so you don’t forget.

•   You may also find helpful information about applying as a first year student. For example, courses may
    offer a scholarship for an incoming student. Try to gather as much information as possible so you can
    see if the course is right for you.

Online Career Resources/ Evaluations

Here are some other online career tools that can help you evaluate your strengths and weaknesses which
can help you choose your major/course

BridgeU Strategy Advisor and Careers Tool

Use the Strategy Advisor function in the BridgeU online platform to articulate your interests, skills, and
experiences, as well as determine additional steps to take in achieving your goals. Use the Careers Tool to
explore career options, related careers and related courses of study.

Here are some other online options that you may find useful:

•   www.myroad.com/
•   www.careerkey.com/
•   www.queendom.com/tests
•   www.myersbriggs.org/
•   www.focuscareer.com/
•   www.assessment.com/
•   www.colorwize.com/
•   www.careerbuilder.com/
•   www.careercornerstone.org/

UNIVERSITY COUNSELLING HANDBOOK - CLASS OF 2021                                                              13
CHOOSING UNIVERSITIES/COLLEGES TO APPLY TO

Choosing a college or university is an important step towards your future career. There are thousands
of universities all over the world, and it is up to YOU to find which is the best FIT for you. Other factors
may influence that decision, however the most important thing is to choose an institution where YOU are
going to be the happiest and to be able to thrive academically.

Reputations

Every college has its own reputation. Basing decisions on reputation alone may prevent students from
seeing the great opportunities lesser-known universities provide. Therefore, THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX
and look beyond the big names to other schools, that have fantastic programmes that you may not know
about. Have an open mind and investigate those schools that you may not be too familiar with.

Factors to Consider

•    Location (Country and Region)
•    Size of the Student Body (1,000 – up to 100,000!)                      Did you know?
•    Campus Type (Urban, Suburban or Rural)                                  There are more than 17,000
•    Academic Programmes                                                     universities and colleges in the
•    Campus Life                                                             world!
•    Cost (Scholarships, Meal Plans, Transport)
•    Diversity
•    Retention and Graduation Rates

Reaches, Targets, and Safeties

It is important to be strategic in choosing which universities you apply to. When making your university
list include schools that fit into each of these three categories: Reach, Target, Safety. In order to figure out
what category a school falls into, you will have to do some research. Make sure to only apply to schools
that you would actually want to attend. Finding a safety school that interests you might take a bit of time!

              Type                                                  Description

                                        A “REACH” school is one that you dream of going to, but that
                                        might be a little out of your reach. Their average student might
              REACH                     have predicted IB scores or SAT/ACT scores above yours OR it
                                        might just be an extremely selective school. Think Harvard, Yale,
                                        University of Toronto, McGill, etc.

                                        The majority of your schools should be in this section. A
                                        “TARGET” school is one that you really want to attend AND
            TARGET                      that fits academically. For example, your predicted IB scores and
                                        standardised test scores are the same as their average student.

                                        A safety school is one that you can fall back on. Your grades/scores
            SAFETY                      should be well above the school’s average student and you should
                                        be fairly certain that you will be accepted.

UNIVERSITY COUNSELLING HANDBOOK - CLASS OF 2021                                                                 14
FINDING THE RIGHT FIT

Things to consider when you are choosing where to apply :

1     Kinds of Colleges and Universities
        a. What kind of degree do I want? Associates? Bachelors?
2     Location
        a. What country do I want to be in?
        b. How far away do I want to be from home?
              i.  Where do I have a support system?
              ii. What are my financial limitations?
3     Campus Setting
        a. Do I want to be in a city? What climates can I handle?
        b. Do I want to live on campus and have a campus community?
        c. Do I care about sports? Activism? Religious community?
        d. What size school do I want?
            i.   Small (15,000)
4     Cost
       a. Do I know the actual* cost of the schools I’m looking at?
           i.    Don’t shy away from “expensive” schools just because of the cost. In fact, some private
                 non-profit schools in the U.S., while the most expensive, may also offer the most aid if
                 you qualify.
       b. Will I qualify for financial aid? Do they offer financial aid to international students?
       c.  Am I eligible for scholarships? (From the college, state, government, etc.)
5     Major/Area of Study
       a.    What are my interests? Are they offered?
             i.   Even if you don’t know what you want to major in, pay attention to what the college
                  offers. If you’re mostly interested in humanities/social science, you probably shouldn’t
                  apply to a technical school!
6     Learning Environment
        a. Do I prefer small classroom discussions or large lectures? Do I want to work closely with my
             professors? Do I want to be at a research university?
        b. Would I benefit from going to a liberal arts college?
             (http://www.bustle.com/articles/76661-should-i-go-to-a-liberal-arts-college-here-are-10-signs-
             this-might-be-the)

1
    See https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/find-colleges/how-to-find-your-college-fit/college-search-step-by-
    step

UNIVERSITY COUNSELLING HANDBOOK - CLASS OF 2021                                                              15
TAKE A QUICK INVENTORY OF WHAT YOU ARE SEEKING:

1   Where would you like to attend university?
     a. United States
     b. Canada
     c. United Kingdom
     d. Australia
     e. India                                                             Finding the right college takes
     f. Kenya                                                              hard work, time and dedication.
     g. Middle East                                                        Knowing your personal
     h. South Africa                                                       preferences will help you find the
     i.  Asia                                                              right match for you
     j.  Other

2   What general subject areas are you interested in?
     a. Arts
     b. Biological and Life Sciences
     c. Business/Marketing/Economics
     d. Education
     e. Engineering
     f. Health professions/ Medicine
     g. Humanities (English, history, languages, etc.)
     h. Law
     i.   Physical Sciences
     j.   Social Sciences (Psychology, anthropology, sociology, etc.)
     k. Theology
     l.   Other _____________________

3   What types of activities would you like to get involved in at university?
     a. Music groups
     b. Dance groups
     c. Athletics
     d. Student Government
     e. Volunteer Organisations
     f. Model UN
     g. Theatre

4   What average IB score for admitted applicants is best suited for you?
     a. 28-32
     b. 32-36
     c. 36-40
     d. 40-45

5   What kind of financial assistance will you need?
          a. Need- based
          b. Merit based (scholarships)
          c. Athletic Scholarship
          d. Work-study

6   List any other special resources you may need at a school that you are planning to choose (religious
    considerations, etc.):

UNIVERSITY COUNSELLING HANDBOOK - CLASS OF 2021                                                            16
THE UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS PROCESS: TIPS FOR
ORGANISATION

Applying to university is a lengthy process; it requires individualised attention and cannot be done
overnight. Therefore, plan ahead and get started on your applications as soon as possible. Additionally,
applying to university is a two way street: you MUST take initiative to do your own research and be
proactive in filling out your paperwork so you can meet all the necessary deadlines and, in return, you will
help your university counsellors make your application process easier. As always, you are welcome to make
an appointment with your university counsellor to discuss your options. Stay focused, be open-minded, and
work hard. It will pay off!

Once you have narrowed your list, it is time to look at the admissions requirements of the schools in which you
are interested. Before you get started, here are some helpful suggestions for organisation:

BridgeU:
•    Log in to your BridgeU account frequently                                     Overall Tips:
•    Once you complete your Profile Builder, BridgeU will generate a               1    USE your BridgeU
     list of University Matches that you can research.                                  account
•    If a university interests you, move it to your Shortlist. Then, in
     your Shortlist you can add notes on each university option that               2    KNOW the deadlines
     you research.                                                                      for each school you are
                                                                                        applying to – Create a
•    Track and update your BridgeU account regularly                                    spreadsheet to help!

Password Page:                                                                     3    RESEARCH your
                                                                                        school’s requirements
•    Universities have many separate databases to complete your
     application and also to check your status after you’ve submitted              4    ASK if you have
     your application                                                                   questions
•    Create a safe password page on your computer or in a notebook                 5    PLAN ahead so you are
     or on your mobile phone so you can keep them all straight; a                       not rushing at the last
     sample is located in the back of this handbook                                     minute!
                                                                                   6    COMMUNICATE
File Folders:                                                                           with the University
•    Have a different file folder for each university you are applying to               Counselling office
•    Keep the brochures/ prospectus guides of the universities you                      regularly in writing to
     would like to apply to so that you can refer to them later                         ensure your applications
                                                                                        are sorted by the
•    Keep a copy of all of your paperwork                                               deadline

A NOTE ON LISTING YOUR NAME:

It is important to make sure that you use the exact same name for all of your official documents. Your
birth certificate, passport, school academic records (including Managebac account), SAT or ACT score
reports, and IB Diploma should have your name listed in the exact same way. When you apply to university,
schools receive multiple documents from multiple sources. The only way that they can make sure to put
all of your credentials together is if your name matches exactly. Therefore, it is critical in your DP1 year to
review your official documents and make sure that all of your names are listed in the same way.

Another critical reason why all documents need to match is that when you go to apply for your student
visa, you will need to present your credentials, including your admission letter from your university and
your passport. It is very likely that your visa will be denied if the names on your documents do not match.
UNIVERSITY COUNSELLING HANDBOOK - CLASS OF 2021                                                           17
APPLICATION FEES

Many students do not realise that application fees can be expensive and quickly add up. It is important
to budget early. Beyond application fees and fees for sending official score reports, you will also need to
budget for visa fees.

                                           Application Fee                            Student Visa Fee

                          £18 for a single choice or £24 for multiple
UK                                                                                          £348
                          courses.

                          Between $50 and $80 per university. In addition
                          students need to send official SAT or ACT
                          scores. The cost for sending SAT score reports
US                        is approx.. $12 per report; for ACT it is approx..             $160 USD
                          $13 per report. In some cases students may also
                          need to send official TOEFL scores to universities.
                          These score reports cost $20 each.

                          Applying to up to three Ontario Universities
                          costs $156. After that it’s $50 per university
CANADA                    added. Non-Ontario University application fees,         $110 USD ($150 CAD)
                          such as for McGill or the University of British
                          Columbia can range up to $130 each.

AUSTRALIA                 There is no set schedule of application fees                   $575 AUD

A NOTE ON PAYING APPLICATION FEES

Because most applications are online, students are often required to pay application fees by using a credit
card. If your family does not yet have a credit card and is able to get one, it is important that you do
so in advance of your application process. Unless a student is receiving very significant financial aid, the
Academies are not responsible for paying application fees.

UNIVERSITY COUNSELLING HANDBOOK - CLASS OF 2021                                                                18
THE UK APPLICATION PROCESS

Universities in the UK conduct admission through ONE online system called
(www.ucas.com).

There are 6 steps to the process:

    1                        2                     3                 4                   5

 CHOOSING
 COURSE                      APPLYING              OFFERS RESULTS                        NEXT STEP
    6

                                          STARTING UNIVERSITY OR COLLEGE

                                         IB Diploma        UCAS             IB Diploma        UCAS
                                         Points            Tariff           Points            Tariff
Tariffs
                                         45                720              34                479
Some UK universities use a point         44                698              33                457
system in evaluating applications.       43                676              32                435
A particular university may say it       42                654              31                413
requires X amount of UCAS tariff         41                632              30                392
points; it is referring to the points
system as designated to the right.       40                611              29                370
However, you may increase your           39                589              28                348
tariff points by taking extra activities 38                567              27                326
or exams:                                37                545              26                304
                                         36                523              25                282
                                         35                501              24                260

Tips:

1       You must apply for a specific course when applying for an undergraduate degree and you must
        meet the point requirements indicated
2       The UK only allows students to apply to 5 universities, but you can choose different courses at each
3        You only fill out ONE application for all the UK universities you apply to
4       Only ONE recommendation letter is required for the UK application
5       Personal Statements are geared towards the qualifications you have that make you suitable for the
        course(s) you are applying for
6       The UK administers conditional offers- meaning they will accept you with certain expectations

UNIVERSITY COUNSELLING HANDBOOK - CLASS OF 2021                                                                19
UCAS application
   flowchart 1
                                                      Apply online*
                                                      Check course details to see which deadline
                                                      your application should arrive at UCAS by.
                                                      • 15 October for Oxford, Cambridge or
                                                        professional courses in medicine, dentistry
                                                        or veterinary medicine/science.
                                                      • 15 January for the majority of courses.
                                                      • 24 March for some art and design courses.

                               2
                 Wait to hear back
                 The universities or colleges will decide
                 whether to make you an offer.
                 • Either unconditional if you’ve already
                   met the entry requirements.
                 • Or conditional if the offer’s based                         Looking for more
                   on your exam results.
                                                                               courses
                                                                               If you have no offers or you’ve declined
                                                                               them all you can still find other courses.
                                                                               • Either by adding more choices one at

                          3
                                                                                  a time in our Extra service.
                                                                               • Or if you didn’t meet the conditions
                                                                                  and Clearing has started, you can see
           Reply to your offers                                                   which courses still have vacancies

           Once all their decisions are in you have to
           reply to your offers by a specific deadline.
           • If your firm acceptance is an unconditional
             then the place is yours.

                                                                                        4
           • Or if it’s conditional it’s yours if you meet
             the entry requirements – you can choose
             an insurance acceptance as a backup.
           • And decline the rest.
                                                                  See if the university or
                                                                  college confirms your place
                                                                  • They might not if you don’t meet the
                                                                    conditions of an offer.
                                                                  • But if they do then you’re in – hooray!
                                                                  • (If you’ve met and exceeded your offer
                                                                    conditions you might be able to look for
                                                                    alternative courses in our Adjustment
                                                                    service while still holding your original
                                                                    confirmed place.)

                                          *If you miss these deadlines, we recommend you contact your choosen university or college to ask if
                                        you're allowed to apply late as some will accept applications up to 30 June. All applications submitted
                                                                                         after 30 June are automatically entered into Clearing.

UNIVERSITY COUNSELLING HANDBOOK - CLASS OF 2021                                                                                                   20
Exam                                                                                       Purpose

                                                              The UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT) is used as part of the selection process by a number of UK medical and dental schools to help them choose from
                                                   UKCAT      among the high level of applicants applying to their courses.

                                                              The BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT) is a subject-specific admissions test taken by applicants to certain medicine, veterinary medicine and related
                                                              courses. The BMAT is owned and administered by Cambridge Assessment, one of the world’s largest assessment agencies. It is responsible for producing
                                                   BMAT       and marking the test, and also facilitates a worldwide centre network at which candidates can sit the BMAT.

                                                               The ELAT is a pre-interview admissions test for applicants to undergraduate courses in English at the University of Oxford. The test is designed to enable applicants
                                                    ELAT      to show their ability in the key skill of close reading, paying attention to such elements as the language, imagery, allusion, syntax, form and structure of the passages
                                                              set for comment.

                                                              The History Aptitude Test (HAT) is a two-hour subject-specific admissions test, which is taken by applicants to the University of Oxford’s undergraduate
                                                    HAT       degree courses in History and its joint schools. Cambridge Assessment is working in partnership with the University of Oxford to administer the HAT.

                                                              The Physics Aptitude Test (PAT) is a two-hour subject-specific admissions test, which is taken by applicants to all University of Oxford Physics and Engineering
                                                    PAT       undergraduate degree courses. Cambridge Assessment is working in partnership with the University of Oxford to administer the PAT.

UNIVERSITY COUNSELLING HANDBOOK - CLASS OF 2021
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          THE UK ADMISSIONS PROCESS

                                                              STEP is a well-established Mathematics university admissions test, which is used to help to select very academically able students for courses which are usually
                                                              oversubscribed.STEP was originally administered by OCR (Oxford, Cambridge and RSA Examinations). However STEP has been transferred from OCR to its
                                                    STEP      parent Cambridge Assessment which has a specialist team that manages assessments relating specifically to university entrance.

                                                    TSA       The University of Cambridge uses the TSA, a 90 minute multiple choice test consisting of 50 questions. The standard TSA measures an applicant’s critical
                                                              thinking and problem solving skills. A separate version of the test - containing only critical thinking questions - is used for admissions to Politics, Psychology
                                                  Cambridge   & Sociology (PPS) by some Colleges.

                                                              The TSA (University of Oxford) is a pre-interview admissions test for applicants to undergraduate courses in PPE, E&M, EP, Geography, Psychology and
                                                              Philosophy, Psychology and Linguistics, and Philosophy and Linguistics at the University of Oxford. Admissions decisions are complex because candidates come
                                                    TSA       from a wide variety of subject backgrounds, and the study of these subjects requires a range of abilities. The Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA) will help tutors
                                                   Oxford     to assess whether candidates have the necessary skills and aptitudes.

                                                    TSA       The TSA is a 90 minute multiple choice test consisting of 50 questions. These measure an applicant’s critical thinking and problem solving skills.
                                                    UCL

                                                              The LNAT is used by universities to assist their candidate selection process for their undergraduate law courses. The test helps universities to make fairer choices
                                                              among the many highly-qualified applicants who want to join their undergraduate law programmes. It is used in collaboration with other admissions processes such as
                                                    LNAT      UCAS application and academic qualifications. The test is not designed to test a candidates’ knowledge of law or any other subject but to demonstrate their aptitude
                                                              for the skills required to study law.

21
THE US APPLICATION PROCESS

There are two ways students apply to US universities:

1   Common Application (www.commonapp.org)
2   Individual university’s application- available online through the university’s website

Information on Applying

       A. The common application allows students to apply to multiple US universities with one
          application.

             It has several parts:
              •    The General Application which includes basic demographic information
              •    The School Specific Supplement which is an additional document provided by each
                   university with more specific questions about why you would like to attend that specific
                   school
              •    You must also submit a transcript up to two (2) teacher recommendation letters, and
                   a counsellor recommendation (these can be requested and are submitted through
                   BridgeU by your University Counsellor.)

       B.    US Universities evaluate applications through a holistic review process. The following things are
             strongly considered when reviewing an applicant:
              •    Grades & Curriculum
                   Since we are on the IB system, universities will consider your IB points and overall performance
                   in SL and HL subjects from grade 9 onward.

** A NOTE ON GPA (Grade Point Average): Many US universities list the average GPA of admitted
   students on a 4 point scale. For IB students, this number can be confusing. In order to determine a GPA, use
   the table below. Be aware that some universities weight HL courses more than SL courses in determining a
   student’s GPA. While the table below may help you determine your GPA, colleges and universities are aware
   of the IB curriculum, including the 7 point grading scale and rigor of HL and SL courses.

IB points               7        6       6       5        5        5        4       4        3        2       1

Grade Equivalent       A+        A      A-       B+       B       B-      C+        C        C-      D        F

                       97-      94-     90-     87-      84-      80-     77-      74-       70-    60-      59-
Percentage
                       100      96      93      89       86       83      79       76        73     69        0

                                                                                                    1.3-
4.0 Scale              4.3      4.0     3.7      3.3     3.0      2.7      2.3     2.0       1.7              0
                                                                                                    0.7

UNIVERSITY COUNSELLING HANDBOOK - CLASS OF 2021                                                                   22
•      Standardised Testing Scores  SATs or ACTs
                    These scores are a requirement for admission to most US colleges/universities and having high
                    scores will make you a competitive applicant
             •      Personal Statement
                    This is where your personality will be revealed. Your essay should be thoughtful, unique, and
                    personal. Be creative and write something that reveals your personality
             •      Extracurricular Activities
                    US universities are looking for applicants who will make contributions to the campus
                    community beyond the classroom. The depth and/or breadth of your activities provide a better
                    picture of you as a whole.
             •      Recommendation Letters (2 from teachers, 1 from counsellor)
                    Your recommendation letters from your teachers further enhance your application. Carefully
                    select teachers who know you well inside and outside of the classroom to write your
                    recommendations. Get to know your university counsellor well to aid in this process.

APPLICATION OPTIONS FOR US UNIVERSITIES: EARLY
DECISION, EARLY ACTION, AND REGULAR DECISION
(ED/EA/RD)

** Note: Not all schools offer ED/EA and there may be a limit to how many you can apply to. Please
   research this for each school you are interested in.

Early Decision:

ED applications are due much earlier than regular decision applications—typically in November. Applying
ED is a BINDING application, which means you MUST attend that university if you are admitted (there
are some exceptions made for financial aid reasons). ED applicants will receive their admissions quite
early, typically in December or January. You should only apply ED if you are 100% sure you want to attend
the school—you will have to WITHDRAW all of your other applications if you choose to attend. You
may want to wait for RD if you think your year 12 grades will improve your chances OR if you are really
counting on financial aid. Since applying ED is binding, you won’t be able to compare financial aid packages.
For some schools ED admission rates are higher, but this is not the case for every school. Do your
research.

Early Action:

EA applications are similar to ED, but are NON-BINDING. The same drawbacks apply with regards to
grades from year 12. The great thing about EA is that you are allowed to keep your RD applications active
and can wait until (in the US) May 1st to make your decision. Basically, applying EA just allows you to hear
back early from a school.

Regular Decision:

RD applications are just that – regular! You will go through the normal application process. Keep in mind
that there are hard admissions deadlines (i.e. “all RD applications are due January 15th”) and there are
rolling admissions deadlines (i.e. they accept applications in waves and/or continuously accept them up until
a certain date and will send out admission/rejection letters as they come).

UNIVERSITY COUNSELLING HANDBOOK - CLASS OF 2021                                                                     23
STANDARDISED TESTING FOR US UNIVERSITIES:

You must take the ACT or the SAT to apply to most US universities; the most selective US universities also
may require up to three SAT II Subject Tests. Don’t know which test to take? Take practice tests online! In
general, we recommend that you take the same test 2-3 times. Here are some key differences between
the SAT and ACT2 :

                          ACT                                                     SAT

    No formulas given                                      Provides math formulas

    Includes science section                               Free test prep/practice exams

    49 Seconds per question                                1 Minute 10 Seconds per question

    Calculator always allowed                              Calculator AND NO calculator math section

    More geometry and wider range of material              Focus on algebra, very little geometry

    Opinion/ideas based essay (40 min)                     Textual analysis essay (50 min)

    Reading for comprehension                              Reading for analysis

    Focus on grammar, style, structure                     Focus on writing style and argument

You receive four free score reports every time you register for the SAT. We highly recommend that you
take advantage of these reports, as additional reports are subject to a fee.

Also, using registration score reports ensures that the test scores are sent to universities as early as
possible. Choosing your score recipients during the registration process ensures that universities have
the most complete set of your information to review for admission as well as scholarship awards, course
placement, or selection to a specific programme or major. In a recent survey, universities said that receiving
score reports is important to them because it shows which students are interested in their schools.

For a full list of university codes refer to (http://sat.collegeboard.org/register/sat-code-search)

After Registration
You may also fill out the form online up to 9 days after you take the exam. If you wait after those 9 days,
you will be charged extra to send the reports. Please remember that an additional week may be needed
for the score recipients to process your scores once they receive them. There is a fee for sending score
reports after registration.

** The College Board has partnered with Khan Academy to offer FREE SAT test prep. Register at this
   website to start studying: https://www.khanacademy.org/

2
    See https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/find-colleges/how-to-find-your-college-fit/college-search-step-by-
    step

UNIVERSITY COUNSELLING HANDBOOK - CLASS OF 2021                                                               24
THE CANADIAN APPLICATION PROCESS

There are 2 ways to apply to Canadian Universities- these depend on which
province the university is located in.

      1    OUAC (Ontario University Application Centre www.ouac.on.ca)
           OUAC serves as a universal application system for students to apply to schools in Ontario.
           Students only need to submit one application to apply for many Ontario universities. These
           include:
             • Ryerson University
             • University of Toronto
             • University of Waterloo
             • Wilfred Laurier University
             • University of Western Ontario
             • University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT)
             • Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD)
             • McMaster University
             • York University

      2    For universities outside of Ontario, students must go to the individual universities’ websites to
           apply or Apply BC. These include, but are not limited to:
            • University of British Columbia (both campuses)
            • University of Alberta
            • McGill University
            • Mt. Allison
            • University of Victoria
            • Simon Fraser University

Application Components
      -    Ontario University applications only require basic information initially. They do not require
           essays or recommendation letters at first.
      -    However, upon receiving this basic application, the university may require you to write addi-
           tional essays, provide a portfolio, or submit recommendation letters.
      -    Canadian universities do NOT require the SAT, ACT, or any other standardised test scores

Application Timeline
      -    Students may start applying in November
      -    Applications are accepted (depending on the university) until May/June- but it is preferred for
           students to submit their applications by January 15th
      -    Decisions are rolling, meaning they come out when your application has been reviewed

UNIVERSITY COUNSELLING HANDBOOK - CLASS OF 2021                                                            25
CONCORDIA UNIVERSITY SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAMME

Background

In a number of joint initiatives between the Aga Khan Academies and Concordia University over the past
seven (7) years, it has become apparent that both organizations have strongly aligned missions and values.
This includes a commitment to pluralism, social justice, the enhancement of civil society, and a desire to
increase access to high quality education.

Therefore, a partnership between Concordia University and the Aga Khan Academies was formed to
promote opportunities for Academies graduates to obtain an exceptional post-secondary education,
an education that is consistent with the standards, values, and principles of the Aga Khan Academies.
Both parties seek to develop a cooperative relationship between Concordia University and educational
institutions supported by the Aga Khan Development Network.

Concordia University is enriched by attracting high-potential international students who bring their talents,
values, resources, and global experiences to its Montreal campus. Students at the Aga Khan Academies
come from a wide range of backgrounds and are admitted based on their promise, good character
and serious intent, regardless of their families’ ability to pay. Given the core capabilities and high-quality
education Academies graduates possess, they are attractive prospects for Concordia University.

UNIVERSITY COUNSELLING HANDBOOK - CLASS OF 2021                                                             26
What is the programme?

This programme awards 4 scholarships annually for Aga Khan Academies graduates to attend Concordia
University to pursue an undergraduate degree. The scholarship covers full-time studies, to a maximum of
four (4) years or five (5) years for students in co-op or engineering programs.

The Scholarship Programme is divided into two streams:

Stream 1: “The Tuition Waiver Program”:
Each year, Concordia will award a scholarship in the form of a waiver corresponding to the tuition fees
payable for an undergraduate degree program to two (2) AKA highly-performing graduates.

Stream 2: “The Tuition Waiver and Bursary Program”:
Each year, Concordia will award a scholarship in the form of a waiver corresponding to the tuition fees
payable for an undergraduate degree program as well as a bursary support covering living allowance in
Montreal to two (2) AKA highly-performing graduates in financial need.

The scholarship programme will support a total of sixteen (16) AKA graduates admitted to Concordia
over the 2020-21 to 2023-24 academic years as follows:

             •    For four (4) AKA students admitted in the 2020-21 academic year;
             •    For four (4) AKA students admitted in the 2021-22 academic year;
             •    For four (4) AKA students admitted in the 2022-23 academic year;
             •    For four (4) AKA students admitted in the 2023-24 academic year.

The purpose of the Scholarship Programme is to award students with capability and financial need
this unique opportunity so as to enable their attendance and completion of an undergraduate degree
programme at Concordia. There is not a fixed number of tuition waivers awarded to students from a
particular Academy; the number of recipients from Mombasa and Hyderabad may fluctuate from year to
year depending upon the applicant pool.

Who can apply?

Eligible students are current DP2s and prior year graduates who are completing a gap year. Students
currently matriculated at a university are ineligible to apply.

To be eligible for STREAM 1 (Tuition Only), students must demonstrate strong academic performance
and some financial need. This scholarship is to be awarded to students who will be able to furnish their
own non-academic expenses.

To be eligible for STREAM 2 (Tuition + Living Expenses Bursary), students must demonstrate significant
financial need; they must currently receive at least 50% financial aid at the Academies. Each applicant’s
financial background will be validated to ensure eligibility, and students and their families will be expected
to confirm that their financial circumstances have not changed for the better since the last review of
Financial Aid eligibility at the Academy. In addition, the Concordia University reserves the right to audit the
financial need of scholarship recipients.

The STREAM 2 Programme is also open to children of faculty and staff who, based on family income,
would be eligible to receive greater than 50% financial aid at the Academies. The Programme is also
open to students who have received financial aid from an outside source (non-family), as long as they can
provide proof of financial need at greater than 50%.

Students interested in either STREAM 1 or STREAM 2 scholarship opportunities and who meet the above
criteria must apply to Concordia University and be admitted. Only students who have gone through the
application process and been admitted to Concordia University will be considered. The Academies’ aim is
to maximize access to universities for as many meritorious students needing financial support as possible.

UNIVERSITY COUNSELLING HANDBOOK - CLASS OF 2021                                                             27
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